(Above: the poodle that keeps on giving. More Moir here)
For years, Tony Abbott in opposition - and the reptile commentariat in Murdoch la la land - had an easy ride, with one of the favourite chief crimes of the former chairman Rudd being his indulgence in policy-making on the run.
Now anyone who had even a remote sense of how the narcissist Rudd operated his office would attempt to deny the Ruddster's many crimes and inconsistencies - it meant that Paul Kelly had an easy target back in June 2013 when he furiously scribbled For Kevin Rudd, it's policies on the run. (inside the lizard Oz paywall, because you have to pay to get the runs).
Kelly even managed to double down and accuse the Ruddster of "improvisation on the run", which presumably is somehow different to "improvisation on the spot".
That's just one of many examples of Kevin abuse. Here's Abbott in a door stopper:
...I want to say again the Coalition is totally committed to giving the motor industry a fair go. We don’t want to make it harder for the Australian motor industry, we don’t want to make it harder for the Australian motor sector. These are tough times generally because there is a lot of uncertainty in our economy, uncertainty over the election date means that investment decisions, employment decisions and spending decisions don’t get made. That would have a big impact on the car industry at the best of times but these aren’t the best of times because of Mr Rudd’s latest kick in the guts. I want to make it crystal clear as far as the Coalition is concerned we will oppose this in opposition and we would never do it in government because we just don’t believe in the kind of policy on the run which is typical of Mr Rudd. (here, back in July 2013)
Ah man and policy on the run, and the Abbott standing firm on motor cars.
Ah mammaries, misty water-colored mammaries light the corners of my mind, as the pond's crude, oafish uncle would sing before making a joke about testicles, wallet and watch - and you dare to wonder why the pond is traumatised.
So what about the current bout of policy-making on the run?
First it was the poodle Pyne, a bear of little brain, having a policy brain-snap. And then jolly Joe Hockey, perhaps to prove he's still a macho towering pile of political brawn, no matter the student video doing the rounds, piled on.
And then - in just thirty minutes - Abbott over-ruled them, realising it wouldn't be long before harrowing stories of widows and young children littered the media ... you know the kind, how having unexpectedly lost their partner and father, the poor possums had to be taken to the poor house after the estate collapsed under its HECS' burden.
So Abbott had to point out that Pyne and Hockey were over-reaching fools, but Abbott himself emerged with no glory, because just like them, his own instant veto, driven by a modicum of political awareness, was policy-making on the run.
here, may be paywall affected)
And then came the imponderable sight of big Mal off dining with Grendel himself, and sharing a Peking duck ... Yes, the buffoon hasn't caught up with the notion of Beijing as he and big Mal embarked on chopsticks diplomacy and got found out, and left Bill Shorten with an obvious joke ...
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the dinner leaves Mr Hockey looking like a "goose." "Malcolm Turnbull was eating Peking Duck last night, Joe Hockey is left looking like a goose this morning, and we've got a lame duck budget with a lame duck Treasurer," he said. "Joe Hockey didn't even know what Martin Parkinson was doing there last night. Joe Hockey was left looking like a goose, he doesn't even know what his other ministers and Treasury secretary [are] doing." (the ABC doing a full report here).
Leave the animal jokes aside. The cat's away and the mice are at play ...
And it got worse, as a senior US naval officer belled the cat, which is to say the bullshit, which Abbott himself unwisely took to flogging back in April, delivering advice without substance on the matter of MH370:
At the time the signals were picked up, the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, said he was “confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometres”. (and more at The Graudian here)
Improvisation on the run!
The pond warned at the time that Abbott was over-reaching when staying silent was the wiser course, at least until something more substantive came along. Now Australia's posing and posturing as search leader has been exposed by a man who casually dared to speak the truth of the matter ...
So where's Paul Kelly this morning, berating the Liberals for improvisation on the run? Off in Murdoch la la land ...
Instead what you get offered by the reptiles is the sort of chunder only an Adam Creighton can manage in Freebians can afford to pay (inside the paywall so you don't have to imperil your mental health).
Here's the dimwit goose's opening gambit:
A furore has engulfed the curious but wealthy nation of Freebiana, where lunches and haircuts are free. Not free for the country’s taxpayers but free for any Freebian who visits restaurants or salons that “bulk bill”; that is, receive payment from taxpayers rather than directly from the customers.
Yes, because attending a salon or a restaurant is directly parallel to attending a doctor with a life-threatening condition.
Is it possible to imagine a more stupidly meerkat opening to a policy discussion? (Oh they're so cute, those meerkats, some mugs might even use them to buy a health policy).
Did Creighton imagine he was being a witty Dean Swift, with a savage satirical thrust up there with the venerable Dean's A Modest Proposal, regarding the efficacious eating of children?
It seems so, because if you bothered to evade the paywall, you'd see the clunkhead kept on pounding the clunky metaphor:
In the 1970s, Freebiana became caught up in an intellectual fad that insisted haircuts and lunches be free at the point of service because they were important.
Now the new Freebian government wants to trim payments to bulk-billing hairdressers and restaurants to encourage them to charge a small fee. It says borrowing money — Freebiana is in chronic deficit — from foreigners to pay for haircuts and lunches is foolish when its citizens, among the world’s richest, could easily afford to make a contribution themselves.
More frank observers say the system is utterly bonkers, pointing out that privately owned firms provide other goods and services efficiently without public complaint and that citizens were just as nourished and well groomed in the 60s. Freebiana now has more hairdressers per head than any other country. More than unmoved, the country’s Left is enraged. Its slogan, “Lunch is life; haircuts are happiness”, has galvanised support around the country, prompting a collapse in the government’s popularity. Less emotional opponents are predicting Freebians will refuse to pay on principle, preferring go hungry from breakfast to dinner and never shave, foisting medical and public hygiene costs on taxpayers that far outweigh any immediate savings.
So attending a doctor to check on a perhaps life-threatening illness, that mole or sunspot on the face, is the same as having a hair cut or a nice lunch in a Melbourne lane-way? It seems so:
Freebiana is a weird place but it is little different from Australia, where “free” visits to the doctor are similarly contributing to a rising tax burden and distorting the jobs market.
The pond doesn't know that much about Freebiana, but it does know about poverty, and it does know about life-threatening illnesses and it does know how hard it is for poor people to afford decent health care, and the only conclusion it can reach is that the Creighton who lives in Australiana la la land is fucked in the wombat head ...
Of all the ways to promote the seven buck levy ... comparing health to a hair cut, or a meal of Peking duck in a Canberra restaurant, and then following it with a dry set of economic arguments and expecting mug punters to swallow it, and in a supremely ironic argument, charging others with failing to see that the system is utterly bonkers...
Can there be anyone more bonkers than this honking, bonking goose? Here he is, this is what The Australian's Dean Swift looks like:
Stick to the Beijing duck Mr Creighton.
Give big Mal a call - Clive claims he didn't pay for the chow down, so there you go, the Liberal party does seem to believe in a free lunch, and a free slap up dinner ... and let's hope that's a passing bowel problem and not a kidney stone ...
Meanwhile, the desperate reptiles felt the need to try another EXCLUSIVE angle in a bid to sell the unsellable:
It wasn't an EXCLUSIVE at all. If you can bother to get around the paywall to read Labor championed doctor co-payment fees, it's just a tired beat up, a recycling of old news.
After invoking Jenny Macklin as the mother of the co-payment, a recycling of a desperate Abbott of yesterday, and memories of Brian Howe in August 1991 - watch out next week for a story on Chifley nationalising the banks - tireless historians McKenna and Balogh dragged a washed up Queensland premier, one Peter Beattie, into the "they wanted it too game", concluding with a harking back to what Dr Andrew Leigh wrote in an opinion piece in 2003.
It's not journalism of course, just ideology spiced with zest and a dash of Beijing duck ... and it has sweet bugger all to do with what is happening right here, right now ...
Right here, right now,
Right here, right now,
Waking up to find your Abbott's a tool
Right here, right now.
Usually the pond apologises for such cheap boy shots, but should the pond apologise to Fatboy Slim or to Norman Cook?
Never mind, it does provide a segue to a piece by Waleed Aly, Joe Hockey's change of mind not proof of hypocrisy (irritating forced ad at end of link) which is ostensibly about the childishness of holding people to ideas they once held, since it's the right of all adults to change their minds in the face of reasoned, inexorable arguments.
It reminded the pond of the most irritating thing about Aly's radio technique, which might be dubbed the legal disease.
When interviewing anyone, Aly can change his mind on a dime. In favour of the seven dollar levy? Let Aly marshall all the evidence for the prosecution. Against the seven dollar levy? Let Aly marshall all the evidence for the defence ...
No wonder he's happy to allow Joe Hockey to endlessly change his mind, and in the process, by arguing for the right of people to do it, ignore entirely the context - it's perfectly fair to point out the irony of Hockey bleating about a $250 fee up front, when right at the moment, he's proposing an interest-laden burden of $100k or so, some fees less, perhaps a few more ....
And as for the other improvisation on the run, that came from a thought bubble by the Grattan Institute back in April which you can read about at Fairfax in Plan to collect dead students' debt, or in the Oz -behind the paywall because you have to pay for deadbeat think tank ideas - at Grattan Institute plan to recoup HECS debt from death duties. (Crikey once memorably described the Grattan Institute as the Centre for Ruddist Thinking, may be paywall affected).
But back to Aly, and why the pond was gob-smacked yet again:
...we should be awake to backflips of convenience. Certainly, we should be holding politicians to account for them, particularly where the political calculations are so short-term and transparent. But not all changes of mind are equal. Not all are poll-inspired and politically cynical. What we need is the capacity to distinguish between the two.
So Hockey's apparently off the hook.
But Aly himself is the master of radio interviewing backflips, and this is just a transparent re-run of the old "teach the controversy" routine, where relativism, subjectivism, and chimerical changes of mood and opinions can be all the go, and if pushed hard enough, you end up in the land of Macbeth and "nothing is but what is not":
A public culture that rushes to judgments of hypocrisy, that fails this test of discernment, is an impoverished one destined for an endless cycle of adolescent sparring that masquerades as a policy debate. It’s a kind of gotcha politics that is more entertaining than edifying. Politicians should be allowed to be people whose positions swing and evolve. If we have inhuman demands of them, we might just find that inhuman brutes, impervious to thought and reflection, are the only ones capable of meeting our requirements.
Uh huh. But that's exactly what the reptiles did when they trawled through Labor attitudes to co-payments.
Okay we can agree that the reptiles are impoverished and indulge in adolescent sparring that masquerades as policy debate. But that's also exactly what Aly does on radio, cutting guests into tidy segments, keeping things on the move, taking stands against whoever comes along.
And where has it led us, this carefully balanced kind of ABC impotence, up against the reptiles at the lizard Oz, so strident in their certainty?
Why to inhuman brutes impervious to thought, reflection, contradictions, or hypocrisy, and arrogant in their manner ...
Well assuming that the last few lines by Ali are a judgment on Tony Abbott's boofhead way with verbal fisticuffs ...
But we'll l never know of course, because Aly always dodges and weaves and feints like an artful legal boxer ...
Here's how it's done:
That doesn’t mean there isn’t crass hypocrisy and opportunism in politics. Of course there is. It’s possible we saw an example of it this week when Martin Hamilton-Smith, a Liberal stalwart and former party leader, stunningly joined the South Australian Labor government with no prior warning and scant explanation.
It’s possible we saw it in the previous federal Labor government on asylum seekers when it first insisted boat arrivals had nothing to do with domestic policy, then shifted dramatically to a policy not merely of offshore processing, but offshore resettlement.
And it’s also possible we’ve seen it for years in Tony Abbott’s position on climate change policy, where, as Malcolm Turnbull has so famously put it, he “in the space of a few months held every possible position on the issue, each one contradicting the position he expressed earlier”. Read more:
It's possible? It's only bloody possible?
What a fatuous goose ... It's more than bloody possible, it's bloody likely and no amount of fey irony and whimsical rhetoric will get around the need to call a spade a spade, and Joe Hockey a bloody hypocrite, and Tony Abbott a complete waste of time on climate change and science in general ... to the point where a climate denialist like Dennis Jensen ends up sounding more sensible and ...
Well it's all just foxes and improvisation on the run ...
... and here's David Pope showing how it should be done (and more Pope here):